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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Pond Pine

Pond Pine

(Pinus serotina Mick.)


Pond pine also is known as poccosin pine, bay pine or black bark pine. It grows on moist to wet sites in the Coastal Plain area, such as poccosins, and on interstream areas with poor drainage. It also can be found in scattered small stands throughout the eastern Piedmont.

Pond pine needles grow in clusters of three (occasionally four) and are slender, dark yellow-green and flexible. They are 6 to 8 inches long and are deciduous in their third and fourth years.

The broad, oval cones of the pond pine can be either pointed or rounded at the end. They are 2 to 2 1/2 inches long and are light yellow-brown at maturity. Scales on the cones are flattened, and each is tipped with a slender, mostly deciduous, prickle. Cones remain closed for 1 to 2 years after maturing and stay on the branches for many years.

The bark of the mature pond pine is dark reddish-brown and divided by narrow, shallow fissures into small, scaly plates. The tree averages 40 to 70 feet in height and 1 to 2 feet in diameter.

The wood is resinous and heavy, often coarse grained and is orange-colored, with pale yellowish sapwood. It is used for lumber and pulpwood.

Pond pine is very resistant to fire -- even intense wildfire. It has the ability to sprout after being burned. Its cones may remain on the tree unopened for many years until they are heated by fire. Fire causes the seeds to be released, allowing new trees to grow in the burned area.

Even if its entire crown is consumed by fire, the upper stem of the pond pine will re-sprout quickly, becoming covered with needles that grow directly from the trunk. This feature often makes pond pine easy to identify.

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